Interview Questions for Accounting Jobs
So, you’ve impressed an employer with your CV and bagged yourself an interview for an accounting role – good work! But the hardest part is still to come. The interview process is your chance to truly demonstrate your capabilities and prove that you’re the right candidate for the job.
So what sort of accounting job interview questions can you expect? Before attending, it’s paramount that you’re prepared for the type of questions that will be thrown at you. The best advice we can give is to be prepared; not only do employers want to know about your previous skills and experiences, but they also want to know that you’ve researched the company and its business goals and values.
Typically, accounting interviews involve a combination of questions about your experience in accounting, the skills you’ve obtained, recent accounting issues and your opinion on how to overcome them, as well as some behavioural questions concerning your “soft skills” – e.g. character traits and work habits. Here we’ve outlined some of the most common questions you can expect to be asked during an interview for an accounting role:
What do you consider to be the biggest challenge surrounding the accounting industry?
While there is no “right” answer to this question, ensure you articulate your knowledge of your profession and the industry as best you can. The interviewer wants to see that you’re familiar with the sector and the challenges it poses, and that you have opinions on the matter.
What accounting software are you familiar with?
There are countless accounting software packages out there, and it’s impossible to be familiar with them all. If you’ve only used one type of software this could potentially be detrimental to your application, so ensure you research other related tools.
Describe the advantages and disadvantages of accounting packages you’ve used previously.
Again, be prepared to share specific examples of the times you experimented with different accounting packages, as well as the pros and cons you’ve picked up from each.
Describe a time when you helped reduce costs in an accounting role.
All accountants should be capable of implementing cost-reduction processes – after all, it’s one of the main reasons they’re employed. Try to recall a time where you managed to reduce costs in a past role, and describe what you did and how that impacted the wider team.
How do you ensure accuracy and attention to detail?
Accountants cannot afford to overlook small details; this is one of the necessary requirements for the role! Be prepared to explain the regime you follow to ensure you don’t forget to alter important figures, for example. If this type of skill comes naturally to you, make sure you explain (with examples) this to the interviewer.
Describe a time when you faced a demanding deadline, how you responded, and what you achieved.
If you can pinpoint a situation where this question is relevant, make sure you describe it accurately and explain how your actions impacted the business. If you don’t have an accountancy-specific example to share, any relevant one can work. Regardless of what experience you select, be honest, try to back up your example with numerative data, and refrain from exaggeration; employers appreciate honesty.
Finally, remember to attend an interview with a list of questions to ask your potential employer. This demonstrates your passion for the job, and proves you’ve done your research.